The Enactus Ryerson’s Dago Project was initiated in August 2011. Dago is a rural village in Western Kenya and home to over 3000 households. The following sustainable initiatives were created by our Enactus Ryerson members, with a focus on the triple bottom line; people, profit, planet. In Dago, Kenya we are empowering villagers to reach their full potential through developing multiple initiatives with an entrepreneurial approach. By doing so we are breaking the cycle of poverty that many of these families encounter enabling them to feed their children on a regular basis and gain the ability to afford their children’s education.
Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurial Education
Many of the Dago, Kenya women are entrepreneurs by necessity and are selling what little goods they have to support their families. They lack money management education and the entrepreneurial mindset. To address these needs we teach financial literacy and entrepreneurship workshops. Topics we cover include the importance of long term financial planning, S.M.A.R.T. goals, budgeting, savings, the use of spending journals, product differentiation, target market. We customize the seminars to fit the audiences needs.
Each trip our Enactus Ryerson members returned with a new set of topics in order to continue to expand the knowledge of the women in the community. These locals are now better equipped to improve the quality of their lives and their standard of living. They are now actively contributing to the growth of their countries economic and social structure. We have held workshops for over 75 women belonging to one of the largest women mentorship groups in Western Kenya: the Dago Dala Hera Self Help Group. The impact our workshops have had on this community have been life changing.
Micro Loan Program
Over the past three years Enactus Ryerson credit union has given 40 microloans to 30 women entrepreneurs in Dago, Kenya.
Below we have provided details of what this program provides:
This amount of capital will be repaid on a weekly basis for the duration of a year. This repayment schedule will incorporate the concepts of tracking their income, expenses, and spending.
The Dago Dela Hera Self Help Group may use the interest accumulated towards initiating community projects of their choice.
A portion of the loan is allocated to a Community Fund. The women have the power to loan this money to an individual of their choice, a community initiative, or to a family as long as a consensus is reached between the women.
Each woman is given the opportunity to name her business and create a design. A graphic designer digitizes the designs and gives each woman their own personalized signage to display alongside their merchandise. The women are also provided business cards which solidify their professionalism and improve their relationships with their customers.
After experiencing a lifestyle with no sustainable source of electricity, the challenges Dago, Kenya endured were evident. The communities only source of electricity was a gas generator. The fuel cost per week was more than the average weekly household income.
A major concern was the ability to provide lighting for the orphan girls at the local orphanage. After sunset, these girls were confined to their beds, since simple tasks became dangerous. In addition, the funds used to maintain the gas generator tarnished the amount of funds that could go towards providing the children essential items.
Enactus Ryerson addressed this need by installing two solar panels on the orphanage, providing over 180 watts of electricity. With six hours of sunlight charging these panels, the orphanage now has access to light throughout the night. A portion of the interest from the micro loans program is being used towards sustaining the panels, allowing more funding to go towards the children’s health and educational needs.
Dago Beekeepers’ Association
Spotting a new opportunity in Kenya, we launched the Dago Beekeepers’ Association. We educated and mentored 10 farmers on how to start and expand their own bee farm businesses. They have successfully established 20 beehives, which will provide a new source of revenue and food for the households, and an increase in crop yields within the community. During our last trip we helped the beekeepers successfully extract their first batch of honey and sell it in the market. We have also provided the Dago Beekeepers’ Association with more advanced equipment which will allow them to efficiently extract, bottle, and sell the honey.
Due to the remote location of Dago, Kenya, Enactus Ryerson has helped create a cyber cafe in the closest town. We donated four computers and taught workshops on computer literacy to the community members. This allows residents of the community to increase their skill set and knowledge of technology. The Cyber Cafe also allows participants in the microloan and beekeeping projects the opportunity to do further research and continue to support the growth of their businesses. It ensures a clear line of communication which allows us to continue providing educational content and support for all of our projects.